Raising kids with a healthy body image is hard.
Here's something to make it a little bit easier.
I'M DEBBIE SAROUFIM, BODY RELATIONSHIP COACH
It took me most of my adult life to be able to say I love my body. In fact, I spent most of my life, including my childhood, hating my body and obsessing over what a “good body” looked like.
From a young age, I was terrified of having a bad body. My mother, with the best intentions - but a very specific idea of what a good body is, wanted so badly for me to be happy with my body that she put me on a diet - when I was in the first grade. Cut to high school and I had a full fledged eating disorder.
So, how did this girl with an eating disorder become a body relationship coach? It started with one word: Therapy.
I don’t actually remember changing my mind - but one day I looked back and realized, “I think differently than I used to.” At some point the hours and the money paid off - and it became clear that my relationship with my body starts in my head - not in my abs or my glutes or anyplace else. No amount of squats or lunges or pullups is going to make me feel whole.
So what do you do to not pass on your body image issues to your children?
As a parent, we don't always know the right thing to say. But it's also important not to say the WRONG thing.
Check out this list of common phrases, and improve your language around your child.
You're not fat! You're beautiful!
Why this doesn’t work: As much as you’re trying to be encouraging, what this really does is tell your child that fat AND beautiful cannot — and do not — coexist.
What to say instead: That sounds really hard. I’m not sure what feeling fat means because fat is something your body needs. Where in your body do you feel uncomfortable?
Why are you so hungry today?!
Why this doesn’t work: This can make your child feel shame around their hunger. It is totally normal to experience different levels of hunger on different days. Did you know that most people confuse thirst and hunger sensations?
What to say instead: Nothing. We don’t need to highlight hunger levels as if they matter. There will be days your child will be hungrier, and days your child will be less hungry. We want to show them that we trust they know what’s best for their body so they have confidence in their food choices moving forward.
You'll look like that one day, just wait!
Why this doesn’t work: As much as patience is a virtue, this implies that their desired body type is in their future. And sadly, we don't get much of a say in what body type we have.
What to say instead: Isn’t it cool how different everyone looks?
That's not very flattering on you.
Why it doesn’t work: It’s code word for “you look fat,” and again implying that fat is a bad thing. Plus it makes it their responsibility to fit into clothes, rather than the designers responsibility to make clothes that fit different body types.
What to say instead: How do you feel in this outfit?
That's not worth the calories.
Why it doesn’t work: It's impossible for you to quantify the level of enjoyment your child will get from any food. Calories may be linked to your enjoyment of certain foods, but that may not ring true for your child.
What to say instead: I’m not in the mood for that right now.
A moment on the lips, 10 years on the hips!
Why it doesn’t work: Bodies fluctuate throughout life and are different shapes and sizes naturally. Food will not be the only reason your child's body changes. We don’t want them to feel responsible for the natural changes their body goes through. Their body will definitely not be the same ten years from now — and they shouldn’t feel like it’s because they ate the “wrong” foods.
What to say instead: I don’t want any right now, but you enjoy.
Relationships take work.
This is an opportunity to teach your child that their body relationship is one worth working on.
How do you do that? By showing them you're still working on your own.
And that's what the Body Relationship Group Coaching Community is for.
You'll work alongside other women who realize their relationship with their body is worth the work. Together, you'll learn how to love yourself, so that you can continue to model a healthy body image to your children.
Here's a preview of what you'll get for just $297...
- Body Relationship Group Check-ins: Zoom meetings every other week, where you can normalize the conversation you’re learning to have with your body.
- Regular Movement Exploration Classes, where you'll explore your relationship with exercise, shame, guilt and joyful movement
- Body Relationship Core Curriculum and Workbook